Forces loyal to president Bashar al-Assad fired banned chemical weapons at Syrian rebel enclaves at least three times this year, bringing the total number of such incidents to more than 30 confirmed by United Nations investigators since the start of the seven-year conflict, according to a new report.
In one incident, government helicopters fired two barrel bombs on a district of Saraqeb in February, a town in the rebel-controlled province of Idlib, which is now in the midst of a fresh government offensive. The munitions gave off a strange smell, said the report of the independent commission convened by the the UN’s Human Rights Council to probe human rights violations and deprivations suffered in the Syrian war.
“Victims described symptoms consistent with the use of chlorine, including shortness of breath, a burning throat, coughing, dilated pupils and chest pain, and also recalled a smell similar to household detergents,” said the report.
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